Scott Boras provides an injury update on behalf of New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton

New York Yankees, James Paxton

Scott Boras, famed baseball agent, sat down with Brendan Kuty of NJ.com to discuss the status of his client, New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton.

A forearm flexor strain saw Paxton go on the IL after five games in 2020 and stay there for the rest of the season. He had a 1-1 record with a 6.64 ERA while seeing his velocity dip.

“[James] made every effort to try to contribute this year, but the back rehab just wasn’t there yet and he just needed more time to where he could really go through his normal mechanics of 2019,” said Boras to NJ.com.

After having time to rehab, Boras is starting to see his client return back to normal form.

“The truth of the matter was, his ability to be James Paxton, it just needed a few more months of rehab on his back and his strength. Getting the velocity, getting the balance and being able to torque his back the way it was, just after the surgery, he just needed time,” said Boras.

2019 saw Paxton pitch to a 15-6 record with a 3.82 ERA in 150.2 innings.

“He’s back to the James Paxton of ’19 in how he feels, how he’s throwing,” Boras told Kuty.

However, it’s no sure thing that Paxton will be a Yankee in 2021. He hits the free agency market for the first time, and the team has a lot of guys that could make the rotation. They might not have a need for Paxton.

Gerrit Cole is the only sure lock in the rotation next year, with Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, JA Happ, Clarke Schmidt, and Deivi Garcia all vying for spots. The team will also have Luis Severino returning from Tommy John surgery sometime towards the middle of the season. It’s also rumored that the Yankees could be in on signing free agent Trevor Bauer this offseason. Bauer’s 1.73 ERA this season puts him in the NL Cy Young award mix.

One of the things that goes in favor of Paxton getting resigned is the fact that he’s a lefty. Happ and Montgomery are also lefties, but a healthy Paxton is better than both. In 2020, Happ had a 3.47 ERA while Montgomery had a 5.11 ERA. However, Happ is aging and losing velocity while Montgomery hasn’t shown enough consistency.

Regardless, the Yankees have tough decisions to make in the rotation this offseason. Although Paxton is no guarantee to be a Yankee in 2021, the fact that he’s healthy again could help his chances.

 

 

Miguel Andujar best serves the New York Yankees as a trade piece

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Now before the Andujar fans start to attack me, let me be clear, I like Miguel Andujar. I would love for the New York Yankees to figure out a way to get his bat into the lineup every single day. He’s a tremendous hitter with such a natural feel when he’s at the plate.

Disregarding his defense, Miguel Andujar is a great baseball player. The problem is that he doesn’t fit in anywhere with the Yankees. It’s not his talent level, and it’s not his inability to be flexible for the team as you saw this year from him trying to play the outfield.

Andujar has done whatever he could to get back on the field with the Yankees. However, there is just no room for him anywhere. Gio Urshela has turned into a star for the Yankees. He’s just as productive at the plate as Andujar, but he combines that with gold glove caliber defense at third.

Andujar tried out left field this year, but Clint Frazier has claimed that spot moving forward. Frazier’s drastic improvement defensively to go along with his great bat have locked up a corner outfield spot for him. We also all know that Giancarlo Stanton has the DH spot locked up for years to come.

What the Yankees should do?

Believe me, it pains me to say it, but the Yankees should really look to move Andujar in the offseason. About a month ago, I wrote asking fans the question on if the Yankees should deal Andujar. The results were pretty split in the comments mainly because of the love for Miggy.

I get it. Andujar became a fan favorite back in 2018 when he came up and shined for the Yankees. That year, Andujar should have won the rookie of the year award in my opinion. However, that honor was given to Shohei Ohtani.

The Yankees are going to be busy this offseason. Priority number one should be locking up DJ LeMahieu. DJ has been the anchor for the Yankees the last couple of years and he’s going to finish in the top four of the MVP voting for the second consecutive year.

Once the Yankees lock up LeMahieu, the infield and the outfield will be set for the future. All of those spots are locked up without Andujar. The focus should then turn to pitching. The Yankees have Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton all hitting free agency.

The Yankees bullpen has also been shaky at times during this season. If I’m Brian Cashman I’m calling up teams ready to deal Andujar for pitching upgrades. Andujar re-established his value with the way he swung the bat towards the end of this season.

Sure, his value still isn’t as high as it was after 2018, but I don’t think it ever will be. No matter how much it hurts to say it from a fans perspective, the right move would be for the Yankees to trade Miguel Andujar and either bolster their starting rotation or get another solid piece for the back of the bullpen.

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone provides encouraging James Paxton update

New York Yankees, James Paxton

The New York Yankees are set to face the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card series in what looks to be a very tough assignment. Shane Bieber will take the ball in Game 1 for the tribe, while Gerrit Cole, the Bombers’ ace, will do the same for New York.

The Yankees’ pitching may not be quite as good as the Indians’, but their offense is much better. Still, overcoming Cleveland will be no small task.

If the New York Yankees do manage to make a deep postseason run, there is a slight chance that they get one of their star pitchers back. James Paxton, who is currently out with a Grade 1 strained flexor in his left arm, could potentially be ready later down the road.

The most likely scenario is that Paxton doesn’t pitch again in the 2020 season, as his injury is not a minor thing. But according to Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone, there is a glimmer of hope that the lefty starter can make an appearance before the playoffs end.

Could Paxton return in time to help the Yankees in 2020?

According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Paxton still hasn’t officially been ruled out from returning in 2020. He played catch during the Yankees’ workout on Monday in Cleveland, as he tries to get his arm in shape.

One thing is certain: he will not be ready in time to pitch against the Indians, as he is still in the playing catch phase and would need to graduate to throwing from a mound. Boone explained that the Yankees are looking more “towards the end of the postseason.”

Paxton struggled with the velocity of his fastball this season, especially in the early going. From 2017 to 2019, Paxton averaged almost 97 mph with his heater, but he struggled to even hit the mid-nineties in 2020.

He finished the regular season with a 6.64 ERA and a 4.37 FIP in five starts and 20.1 innings.

James Paxton’s career with the Yankees is likely over after latest move

New York Yankees, James Paxton

While the New York Yankees gained back Geo Urshela, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge this week, they did lose one significant starting pitcher.

Left-handed pitcher James Paxton was placed on the 45-day injured list, according to manager Aaron Boone before Wednesday nights game. Before going down with a forearm flexor strain, Paxton was pitching 6.64 ERA baseball, which would land in the lackluster category. He had given up 15 earned runs over 20 innings pitched — an elevated number that was easily replaceable for the Yankees.

Paxton is currently on the final year of a one-year, $12.5 million deal. Set to hit free agency next season, I can’t imagine the Yankees will retain him and his injury proneness.

Being placed on the 45-day IL essentially ends his season. The Yankees have since utilized Deivi Garcia, their 21-year-old youth pitcher, in his role. Garcia has been phenomenal, as he currently hosts a 3.28 ERA with a 2-1 record. His emergence has been perfectly timed with Paxton’s absence, and they can feel confident moving forward with him in the rotation.

The New York Yankees Starting Rotation: 2021 and Beyond

The New York Yankees are looking into Cleveland Indians pitcher, Trevor Bauer.

For the last decade, there have always been questions surrounding the New York Yankees starting rotation. That has been the one flaw in the team that has hindered them from getting over the hump and capturing a 28th World Series championship.

The Yankees made a big step in the right direction signing Gerrit Cole last offseason. Cole has been very good so far this year pitching to a 5-3 record with a 3.20 ERA and striking out 12.1 batters per nine innings. Masahiro Tanaka has been good, but the rest of the rotation has been hit or miss.

Jordan Montgomery hasn’t been sensational so far. The Yankees have had solid outings from J.A. Happ, but the bombers are hoping he’s not part of their 2021 plans given his optional salary. The Yankees have had one pleasant surprise this year, and that’s been Deivi Garcia.

I started thinking about the Yankees beyond this odd COVID season. What is the Yankees rotation going to look like beyond this year, and what are the Yankees going to do this offseason to address the starting pitching? Let’s take a dive into the options.

The Yankees Internal Options

Realistically there is only one guarantee for the Yankees rotation to start the season and that’s Gerrit Cole. Luis Severino will of course be a part of the rotation, but we really don’t know when he will return from his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

I would think that the Yankees would be willing to give Domingo German a spot in the rotation. Last year’s 18 game winner was suspended for the shortened season due to a Domestic Violence case. If those three are in, that leaves questions around the other two spots.

Deivi Garcia sure looks like he deserves a full-time spot in the rotation. The 21 year old has looked sensational through three starts for the Yankees pitching to a 3.06 ERA. However, given the small sample size, his spot isn’t guaranteed.

Jordan Montgomery could get one of the final two spots, but his inconsistent performances could give the Yankees pause. Clarke Schmidt is another option, but he was never given an actual look in the starting rotation, so I’m not convinced they’d go with him.

As things stand, the Yankees could go into the 2021 season without doing a thing and they could field a starting five if Severino is ready to start the year which might be unlikely. If Severino isn’t ready, the Yankees could give Schmidt a chance or look at the starting pitching market.

Options in the Market

The Yankees do have a few starting pitchers that will be hitting the free agent market. The Yankees will do what they can to make sure J.A. Happ’s option doesn’t vest while James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka are both set to become free agents after the year.

If the Yankees were to sign someone in the market, the likely signing would be retaining Masahiro Tanaka. While resigning Tanaka would certainly not be the sexy option for fans, this will probably be the most likely avenue GM Brian Cashman goes down.

If I were running things, I would take a shot at Trevor Bauer. Bauer is having a career year for the Reds. How nice would it be to pair him and Gerrit Cole? Yes there’s personal friction, but money and championships talk.

The Yankees could also look at retaining Paxton, but given the injury concerns, this likely won’t be an option unless they get him dirt cheap. The Yankees could also explore the trade market, but with Cashman’s history, this is also unlikely because of his unwillingness to deal top prospects.

There are plenty of avenues the team can go down to finish off the rotation next year. I would caution fans to not dream of a Bauer scenario. Instead, prepare yourselves for more of a underwhelming offseason like retaining Masahiro Tanaka.

New York Yankees receive bad news on LHP James Paxton

New York Yankees, James Paxton

The New York Yankees could desperately use some starting pitching support, as they’ve dipped into their youth ranks to help supplement the loss of James Paxton and others.

While Deivi Garcia has looked phenomenal in his three starts this year, having experienced players is always a bonus. Paxton is a solid pitcher who has dealt with injuries in the past, but the Yankees will have to wait a few more weeks until they can gain back their number two.

Prior to Paxton suffering a forearm flexor strain, he had pitched in five games. Over those five games, he logged a 6.64 ERA, allowing 15 runs, four homers, and 23 hits. Overall, his season has been tumultuous and not a representative of his quality. Last season, he finished the 3.82 ERA, a much more formidable number than the one he has produced so far in 2020.

Nonetheless, adding him back to the rotation will be a positive thing for the Yankees. Manager Aaron Boone stated prior to Thursday’s rain-out that Paxton was sore after throwing on Wednesday. That will subsequently keep him out for more time and shut him down for a few days.

The Yankees will push forward in a doubleheader on Friday, with the first game starting at 4:05 PM. Starters Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka are scheduled to take the mound, despite both having rocky starts this past week.

The New York Yankees will need to rely on their youth:

With Paxton being out since August 20 and the postseason quickly approaching, the Yankees will have to rely on García to pick up the slack. At 21 years old, Garcia is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA. his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays saw him last seven innings, allowing just two runs.

Hopefully, the Yankees can go on a hot streak and cement themselves in the post-season, which would give them time to recover Paxton and factor him into their plans.

New York Yankees: James Paxton hopes to return just before the playoffs

New York Yankees, James Paxton

Currently dealing with a flexor strain in his left (throwing) arm, New York Yankees‘ starter James Paxton knows that he is nursing a multi-week injury, but at the same time, he is confident that he will be back in time to make an impact just before the playoffs start.

The Yankees decided to shut down their lefty starter for two weeks. The club is not playing, after the Subway series against the Mets was postponed due to a COVID-19 bout in the Queens’ club.

The New York Yankees are still discussing who will replace Paxton in the rotation for the time he spends on the injured list. Options include Clarke Schmidt, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nick Nelson, Mike King, or making a trade.

Paxton was diagnosed with the strained left flexor tendon after an MRI on Thursday. He hasn’t had a particularly good season for the Yankees, with a 1-1 record and an uncharacteristic 6.64 ERA in five starts.

The Yankees are weighing their options

“At first when it happened, I was thinking, ‘This can’t be happening,’” Paxton said to MLB.com. “It just continued to get tighter and tighter. Considering the circumstances, I got very lucky with the injury. I was glad that it wasn’t anything with the [ulnar collateral ligament]. It’s perfectly healthy, so that’s great news. It should be a short-term thing.”

“We’ll just kind of figure it out,” Boone said regarding Paxton’s replacement. “We won’t have to make that decision yet, but obviously guys like King, Nelson and Lo are stretched out. We have a lot of people that can give us innings.”

The Yankees’ skipper praised Schmidt and said he is also being considered for a callup. “He’s doing really well and continues to get good reports,” Boone said. “It’s been a very good work year for him. As we’ve had some attrition, he certainly very much is one of the guys we’ve talked about a lot and [he’s] in the conversation.”

New York Yankees Injuries: The Yankees aren’t playing the blame game, it is what it is

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

For the New York Yankees, it’s Deja vu all over again. Injuries, injuries, and more injuries.  Halfway through this shortened season, we are seeing a similar injury list that we saw last year when the Yankees experienced an unprecedented number of injuries. Last year the Yankees had injuries to 30 players for 39 separate incidents. This year in the first month we have had 10 stints on the IL, that’s ahead of last year.

After last year, the New York Yankees cleaned house, and completely revamped their strength and conditioning team, including replacing long time head trainer Stevey Donohue. The move for the Yankees was the hope of preventing the reoccurrence of 2019. The Yankees hired Assistant Director of Player Health and Performance Donovan Santas and Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach Brett McCabe. Assuming new roles in 2020 is Director of Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Michael Schuk, Head Athletic Trainer Tim Lentych, and Director of Medical Services Steve Donohue.

The biggest change was the hiring of celebrity Eric Cressey to the New York Yankees, to oversee the player health and performance team. With all the unexpected injuries this season, some Yankees fans are wondering what’s going on with the changes, it’s not working.  The fans may be questioning, the New York Yankees are not playing the blame game. Cressey was hired just one month before the start of spring training and has hardly had any time to revamp anything. The complete change of staff was to show progress for the coming years.

Instead, the Yankees are blaming the bizarre season itself. Spring training was never completed when all of baseball was shut down due to the spread of the coronavirus.  Then when summer camp was reopened, it was for a shortened conditioning period, leading to most players not having that long period to build up slowly, and due that, they are now starting to break down.

Whether you believe that explanation or not, the MLB stats seem to support it, as it’s not just the Yankees, it’s happening all over baseball.  This year the 30 clubs had collectively used the injured list 146 times for a total of 1,461 missed days through Thursday’s games, the 29th day of the regular season. Through 29 days last year (2019), those numbers stood at 93 and 1,280, which is almost 50% fewer injuries.

Several New York Yankee players have echoed that sentiment, citing the short build-up period that is now causing these injuries. Yankee pitcher James Paxton who is one of the ten Yankees players on the IL said it best in an interview following Saturday’s work out at Yankee Stadium.

“I think it’s pretty simple: short spring training,” Paxton said, referring to the spring training 2.0 that lasted less than half the length of spring training 1.0. “We didn’t get enough time going at a lower speed to kind of build up, and now you’re seeing a few weeks into the season, guys are not fresh anymore. The tiredness is building up. We don’t have that base we normally have.”

The Yankee players were working out Saturday as the entire weekend series with the crosstown New York Mets was postponed/canceled, due to a player and crew member testing positive for the coronavirus. Although there is some talk of a doubleheader on Monday at Citi Field, if further tests are negative, that scenario is unlikely. The next games to be played by the Yankees will most likely be at Truist Park, starting on Tuesday, with the Atlanta Braves.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees could lose James Paxton for longer than expected

New York Yankees, James Paxton

The New York Yankees are down a multitude of significant players through just 24 games, but losing starting pitcher James Paxton rises above the rest. The Yanks have struggled with their starting pitching and are now even more strained. Ace Gerrit Cole has been the only consistent threat, with Paxton lagging behind due to nagging injuries.

He was placed on the injured list after last Thursday’s start against the Tampa Bay Rays, but one doctor doesn’t think he will be back anytime soon.

NJ.com interviews Dr. James Gladstone, Chief of Sports Medicine Service at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Mount Sinai.

“Especially for a high-level athlete like that,” Gladstone said, “their mechanics are so essential to their performance. Anything that’s off, it’s hard to overcome. It could be that he was having a little trouble leading up to that, but then the strain really hit him in that fifth inning.”

Prior to Paxton’s more prevalent injury, his MPH was down 4-5, indicating something was off, to begin with. A strained flexor could be a lengthy issue that forces the Yankees to be active during the trade deadline on August 31.

The New York Yankees will need to supplement the loss of Paxton:

“What you want to focus on is the recovery of the muscle,” Gladstone said. “For the first few days, up to five days, you’re letting everything settle down. Also, doing a lot of icing. Doing a lot of anti-inflammatories to calm things down.

“But once the pain settles down, then you work on the flexibility on the muscle and loosening everything up, and then you move back into the strengthening mechanics and the throwing program. Each step along the way, you monitor how he’s doing. Sometimes if there’s a little too much pain, you have to back off a little bit and then pick up again. So you really individualize the treatment plan.”

In the meantime, the Yankees might activate starters like Michael King, Clarke Schmidt, or even Deivi Garcia.

New York Yankees: James Paxton’s MRI results are ready, as the lefty is set to miss time

New York Yankees, James Paxton

The New York Yankees‘ bad luck with injuries simply cannot be explained. Left-handed starting pitcher James Paxton was cruising in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays, but allowed three runs in the fifth inning and departed shortly after battling with walks (he handed four.)

As it turns out, he felt discomfort in his left arm and was sent for an MRI. The results showed that his ulnar collateral ligament is intact, which is excellent news for his prospects of avoiding Tommy John surgery, but he is dealing with a flexor strain.

Flexor strains are multi-week injuries, so the ailment has the potential to end the New York Yankees’ lefty season prematurely. For now, no such scenario has been discussed, but he is looking at multiple weeks on the mend at the very least.

The Yankees need a starter

The information of the diagnosis was reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Paxton was slated to be the Yankees’ second starter behind Gerrit Cole, but since his first start of the season he showed diminished velocity, and the results suffered.

Last season, an average fastball from Paxton traveled at 95 miles per hour. To start the season, it barely touched 92.

The situation became to improve progressively through the season, but his velo never got back to normal.

The 2020 season has been a difficult one for Paxton, who is currently 1.1 with a 6.64 ERA in five starts and 20.1 innings. He has 26 strikeouts, but they have come with an ugly 1.48 WHIP.

For now, the Yankees are left scrambling for another starter. Candidates to fill in for Paxton in the rotation are Jonathan Loaisiga, Mike King and Clarke Schmidt. The team could also opt to pursue a starter in the trade market, although it is unclear whether they will choose to go that route having several internal candidates.